By Matt Baatz
When Joe Desena (Spartan Race founder) decided to build a mountain bike network on the mountain behind his bucolic farm in Pittsfield, Vt., it was against the advice of nearly everyone. The trailbuilder at the time, Jason Hayden, recalls taking “experts” to scout the area and coming back full of doubt. So, in their typical take-no-prisoners style, they built it anyway. A hundred switchbacks and 20 miles later, Green Mountain Trails emerged almost overnight.
One of the first signs that they had something special in the works was when the popular blog MTBVT paid a visit in 2011 and deemed the trails “a field of dreams for mountain bikers” and “the best kept secret in Vermont.”
The entire trail system is free to the public.
The Green Mountain Trails have riding options for all abilities, passing by mountain streams and overlooks, with a beguiling panorama of the Green Mountains and pastoral valley. Within the confines of 700 acres, the system will probably max out at around 30 miles of trail, but trail development in the neighboring towns of Rochester and Killington means that the potential for this region remains unfathomable.
There are a thousand feet of climbing and descending. Some of the system’s highlights are Noodle’s Revenge, an uber flowy, multi directional singletrack with long switchbacks; Warman, a 20 berm corkscrew; and Fusters, a perfect balance between old-school gnar and new school flowiness. Most of the uphills are gradual and forgiving on the quads, but challenging uphills are also an option. Depending on your route, descents can last as long as six miles.
The trails host beautifully appointed canvas tents (similar to yurts) nestled in the forest. More primitive camping options exist close to town.
Trail closures are based on seasonal conditions. Typically the trails close to mountain bikes in November and open in May. Snowshoeing takes place from December to March, also depending on conditions.
For more information visit www.gmtrails.org.